EXCEPTIONAL DEMANDFOR THE MUSIC OF TODAY
OD REPORTING A GREAT INCREASE IN TURNOUT THIS YEAR
Although modern composed music has its dedicated platforms such as Contempuls in Prague or the Exposition of New Music in Brno, it sometimes infiltrates the Strings of Autumn or Prague Spring festivals and even keeps its half-partisan proponents in the Berg Orchestra, the stability in its functioning and the consistently radical program of Ostrava Days make it an event of unparalleled significance in our country.
/ Jan Starý, Fullmoonzine.cz, Aug 28, 2019
Ostrava, September 2 – For three weeks in August (22-31), ten venues, including both banks of the Ostravice river, became the sites of the jubilee 10th Ostrava Days: Institute and Festival of new, avant-garde and experimental music of the present day and approximately the last 50 years. Over the course of 10 festival days, 14 concerts (including one 18hour-long “Long Night”) and 80 compositions were played as planned, amounting to the total of 50 hours of music, a great majority of which had never been heard in the Czech Republic before. The program featured compositions of 21-year old students next to those oflegendary composers aged over 80: Christian Wolff, Frederic Rzewski or Alvin Curran, who all came to Ostrava and assumed the roles of performers. Czech composers, whose compositions appeared in the program this year, included Michal Rataj, Petr Cígler, Petr Bakla, Petr Kotík, Miroslav Srnka, Jaroslav Šťastný or Lucie Vítková. From composers of great international renown in the present, Chaya Czernowin, Isabel Mundry, Marc Sabat, Klaus Langor Bernhard Lang, among others, came to Ostrava. Thus, dozens of composers and two hundred musicians converged on Ostrava, fulfilling the legacy of Ostrava Days together: To play music which is composed here and now and hear it instantly as it used to be in the time of Bach, Mozart or Janáček, to experience the music in the “normal” situationin whichit is not relegated to the status of a “museum piece”, but forms a part of our lives. Many compositions were commissioned by this year's festival and were inspired by it.
Massive premieres and presentations of new music belong to one of the characteristics of Ostrava Days and it often seems that’s all the festival is about. Although at first invisible, of noteworthy importance are also the composition courses preceding the concert part of the - event.
/ Boris Klepal, Aktuálně.cz, Aug 27, 2019
For three weeks, Ostrava became the home for 35 students-residents – young composers from miscellaneous universities around the world (for the first time even from Peru). They discussed their work with the instructors: experienced composers, whose compositions were included in the program next to the student ones. Another program section of the festival was dedicated to the groundbreaking music of the 1960s: Terry Rilley, Robert Ashley, Morton Feldman, Julius Eastmanor Alois Hábaand Petr Kotík. The great orchestra concerts were performed by the international ONO/Ostrava New Orchestra (the great symphony orchestra) and by the more chamber-music oriented and highly experienced Ostravská banda. The Canticum Ostrava choir headed by Jurij Galatenko was another resident ensemble of the festival and this year, a brand new string ensemble Slavíková quartet was established for the occasion of the festival.
With the way it rendered the music at its Sunday performance, Ostrava New Orchestra shined even more than two years ago at its successful debut performance and it can be finally stated with all certainty that it is a „complete“ ensemble fully capable of performing demanding works of contemporary music.
/Jan Borek, Harmonie, Aug 29, 2019
Many top soloists came to Ostrava from abroad, including bass clarinetist Gareth Davis, pianist Daan Vandewalle, violin player Hana Kotkováor soprano Claudia Barainsky. The orchestras were directed by five conductors: Bruno Ferrandis, Johannes Kalitzke, Petr Kotík, Lilianna Krychand Peter Rundel. The ensembles from abroad included the jazz-rock oriented Studio Danfrom Vienna and Quatuor Bozzinifrom Montreal. The Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra appearedfor the very first time at Ostrava Days.
The new format of the festival, The Long Night marathon, which started with the composition of Dieter Schnebelfor 9 Harley-Davidson motorcycles in front of the Ostrava Cathedral was received most enthusiastically. The marathon started at 5 pm and was concluded the following day in the midday sun with the conceptual composition of Theo Finkelwhich had musicians distributed along the banks of the river Ostravice. Both the audience and the performers were mesmerized by the feat of bass clarinetist Gareth Davis in the performance of the great orchestra piece of Bernhard Lang and the rendering of music of Salvatore Sciarrinowhich his muse, mezzosoprano Anna Radziejewska to perform with Ostravská banda was also received with great applause. An extraordinary experience for all present in the cathedral was the explosive composition of organ player Klaus Lang, but also the conceptual symphony of Yves Klein concluded by twenty minutes of silence. Composer and pianist Frederic Rzewskiseized everyone’s attention and Alvin Curran masterfully played the shofar made from the antelope horn. The very end of the festival belonged primarily to the opera/non-opera of Morton FeldmanNeither“suspended in the air” and composed to the text of Samuel Beckett. It was conducted by highly experienced conductor Peter Rundel in the production of Jiří Nekvasiland David Bazika.
Thanks to the enduring excellent partnership with Ostrava institutions, the Ostrava Days Festival could take place this year in the industrial setting of Triple Hall Karolina, Jiří Myron Theatre or the Hlubina Mine or Coal Mine Michal (Minimarathon of Electronic Music). The music instruments were rented to the festival also by Janáček Philharmony Ostrava. The concerts also took place in the halls of the Janáček Conversatory, a somewhat agitated discussion about the standing and support of contemporary music in the Czech Republic was held in the premises of Centrum PANT, in which directors of leading music institutions, composers, festival organisers as well as representatives of media participated. An excerpt from the 4-hour long discussion will be aired in the Czech Radio Vltava show Reflexe. Almost all concerts of Ostrava Days were recorded by Czech Radio and will be broadcasted in the programs of Futurissimo etc.
The 10th biennial Ostrava Days was attended by a record-breaking amount of visitors (from all over the world) who often listened to new music way past midnight. Therefore, Ostrava Days reports a marked increase in audience members, which proves that the music of today represents for many a living and urgent need.
The Ostrava Days Festival is organized by the Ostrava Center for New Music, which cordially invites you to the concert to be held on 5 November at the concert venue DOX+ in Prague. It will be devoted to the figure of Iannis Xenakis and to his three great orchestral compositions – music, which Prague has never heard before.
At the end of June 2020, OCNH will organize already the fifth biennial of the festival of new opera NODO.
The next installment of the Ostrava Days Festival is scheduled to August 2021.